Sunday, 10 November 2013

Isle of Arran

Today I went to the Isle of Arran on a day trip arranged by the International Society. I keep confusing the name with my earlier irish adventures on the Aran Islands. But the Isle of Arran is different. It is like a miniature Scotland, with mountains like in the highlands and forests and a loch.

We drove to Ardrossan and took a ferry from there. The weather was nice, so it was looking out to be a great trip.
 And look what the ferry had, it's been ages since I've seen one of these!
I stood up on deck to try and see dolphins, but I sadly didn't see any. I did get a beautiful view of the Isle of Arran though.
 Right of the coast of the Isle of Arran is the Holy Isle (not to be confused with the Holy Island which is Lindisfarne.)
The Holy Isle
The harbour at Brodick.
Our first destination was Whiting Bay where we went walking up to Glenashdale Falls. The walking trip was amazing and probably good for my health.
Look, Narnia!
Glenashdale Falls
Look at the ash on the ground, it's the Forest of Death, I tell you!
The site of an Iron Age Fort.
Beautiful view they had from this fort back in the days.
More waterfalls.
And beautiful views
Whiting Bay.

Back in Brodick with a view of Goat Fell, the tallest mountain (or hill?) on the Isle of Arran. I think this is my first time seeing actual snow in Scotland.

We then travelled further north on the Island to Lochranza, where we first visited the Whiskey Distillery. We only had time for a brief taste of their whiskey and a stop by the gift shop. We didn't go on a tour, so where they got their barley from will forever be a mystery. I haven't actually seen any fields in Scotland so far.

And then we stopped by the ruins of Lochranza Castle. I don't know if this small thing qualifies as a castle, but it was built sometime in the 13th century so maybe this was the standard for island communities back then.
It was raining when we first got to the castle, but it soon cleared up, leaving a beautiful view.

And lastly we had a look at Brodick Castle. I honestly was a bit disappointed of this one. It wasn't as amazing as the 20 pound note made it out to be.

 And who the hell thought red drainpipes on a castle was a good idea?

Anyway, the gardens were pretty nice. They had this cool palm tree, a Cordyline Australis from New Zealand. Let me educate you:
"The New Zealand "Cabbage Palm" is only hardy in the south and west of Britain. In recent years an air temperature of -9,4 degC killed the tops of many of our "palms" but they all regrew successfully from the stumps. The leaves are immensly strong - it is related to sisal (and distantly to Lilies!) - and low paid gardeners used the dead leaves as belts and braces."

So now you now all there is to know about British palms.

Ad we left Brodick Castle the moon was coming out and it was starting to get dark. Good thing it was time to return with the ferry. I didn't go on deck looking for dolphins this time, as I wouldn't be able to see them anyway. Instead I stayed in the pet area wishing I had a pet by my side. Sigh.

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